(c) 2013, The Yomiuri Shimbun.

(c) 2013, The Yomiuri Shimbun.

TOKYO A team headed by Waseda University Professor Atsuo Takanishi announced it has developed a six-wheeled survey robot that can be controlled with an ordinary smartphone.

The team said its robot, made for environmental survey work, does not need an independent communication network because it uses the Internet via a smartphone for its data processing and remote control. The team expects the robot could be used to measure radiation levels by moving around schoolyards and forests.

The solar-powered robot has a 36-centimeter-long (about 14 inch), box-shaped body and three oval wheels on each side. Its axles placed off-center in wheels to allow it to climb an obstacle up to 18 centimeters high.

Besides the camera and GPS on its smartphone, the robot can be equipped with other devices as needed, such as sensors to detect radiation and particulate matter. It can also carry a device to ultrasonically repel animals.

A venture company in Fukuoka Prefecture will manufacture and market the robot. It will be priced at about 500,000 yen (about $5,090), with the price varying according to the devices to be installed in it. Sales are expected to begin in the second half of 2014.

bc-japan-robot (TPN)